One of the world's most highly regarded cheeses, the Rogue Special Reserve Blue, is coming to Australia. Only, while everyone else gets to eat it in the raw, a special pasteurised batch has been made for our market.
The highly sought-after blue cheese, from Oregon cheesemaker Rogue Creamery, has collected a swag of awards around the world including, most recently, Super Gold at the World Cheese Awards in Birmingham in November.
The cheese is being imported by cheese providore Will Studd, but due to Australian regulations, the raw blue has to be pasteurised.
"There are slight flavour variations between pasteurised and raw milk cheeses," says Rogue Creamery's Francis Plowman.
"We developed a brand new recipe for the pasteurised blue and it required many tweaks during the development of the cheese to ensure the full flavour comes through in each taste."
Only a single batch of the premium blue is made each year, before the autumn equinox.
"At this time, our cows graze on grasses renewed by cooler temperatures and make milk that is richer and higher in butterfat due to the advanced stage of the lactation cycle," Plowman says.
"This special milk, reflective of the unique seasonal influences of the Rogue River Valley is the very essence of terroir."
After the young cheeses have been salted and pierced they are hand wrapped in Syrah vine leaves, macerated in local pear brandy, then ripened in the dairy cellars for at least three months.
"I'm very excited," says Norris Lewis, cheese judge and owner of Brisbane's Rosalie Gourmet Market who has put in an order for 30 kilograms.
"I haven't actually tried it but it's won both British and English cheese awards. For an accolade of that stature – to win against the very best Stiltons – means it's pretty outstanding."
Cheese lovers can taste the cheese and meet the Rogue Creamery's cheesemakers on Saturday, February 2, at Superior Fruits in Graceville (Shop 5, 365 Honour Avenue, 9am – 10.30am) and Rosalie Gourmet Markets (164 Baroona Road 11.00am – 1pm)